By on July 26, 2014
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I’m honored to say that we have a few members of the B&B who are involved with Ford Australia, but sadly, Neil Trickey isn’t one of them.

Trickey’s official title is “Prototype Build Co-Ordinator”, and his duties include camouflaging new cars before they hit the road. While Trickey’s exact tactics are trade secrets, the short video above shows us how some tape, spray paint and special Lycra coverings are used to disguise design changes on prototypes. Trickey also mentions “transfers” being used – which are the technical term for the new type of camouflage with odd looking patterns that are meant to reduce how visible the styling changes really are. But since the Falcon only had minor changes to the front and read end, Trickey went old school.

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28 Comments on “One Of The Best Jobs In The Auto Industry?...”


  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    As a fan of dazzle camouflage along with the related Yehudi project, it’s fun to view and analyze the types of deceptive expedients used by the automobile industry to hide in plain sight. I’m surprised there hasn’t been use of strategically placed high intensity lights to break up shadows produced by new character lines.

    The last painter I attempted to explain “dazzle” techniques to ended up confusing it with “bling.” There’s a big difference between perspective confounding angles and false shadows vs metallic bases and pinstripes.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “As a fan of dazzle camouflage..”

      Sheesh, thought I was the only one. Used to search for Royal Navy photo archives. Great idea with the on-board lights.

      • 0 avatar
        rpol35

        Speaking of The Royal Navy, I have seen pictures of RMS Olympic (Titanic’s sister) in a dazzle scheme from WWI. It disguised it a bit but there is no denying those famous Harland and Wolf classic lines. I’ll have to see if I can find the link.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          I think the intent of the dazzle ships was more to hamper identification than to become invisible against a background.

          I mean, given the stark black/white contrast in those designs enemy observers would know damn well that *something* was out there against the drab North Atlantic sky. But whether it was, say, the latest battleship or a 20 year-old heavy cruiser, uncertainty could have been a worthy tactical goal.

          • 0 avatar
            jhefner

            It was my understanding that not only did dazzle camouflage make it harder to identify a ship, it also made it harder to determine it’s size and range when viewing it through a periscope or range finder.

            I could not find it online, but I recall one ship that even had a false bow painted on it’s stern; other designs were also intended to make it harder to tell which end was which. You had to lead the ship when aiming a gun or torpedo so that it arrived at the same spot as the ship; if you cannot tell accurately how far away it was, or which end was which, it greatly diminished your chances of hitting it.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          @rpol35
          I remember seeing those photos, too. Yes, the H&W silhouette as well as the bulk gave it away. I’ve seen better WW1 dazzle schemes that could have more broken up the classic lines.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    If you just show us, Neil, we promise we won’t tell anyone else. Mum’s the word.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    Wow… car burqas. See? Islam is good for something.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Derek Kreindler wites: “Trickey also mentions “transfers” being used – which are the technical term for the new type of camouflage…”

    A “transfer” is simply the term commonly used by speakers of British English for what in the US would be called a “decal.” It does not imply either camouflage or any other particular visual content.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    For fans of dazzle camouflage, here’s a modern naval implementation whose stealth design nicely complements the paint job:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visby-class_corvette#mediaviewer/File:K32_HMS_Helsingborg_Anchored-of-Gotska-Sandoen_cropped.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Now *that* at a distance and in any kind of haze/overcast could hide in a background. Very cool.

      Interesting that in this age of automated sensors and weapons some attention is still given to human sense organs.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      The tales of early F-117s being given pink/blue/grey patterns is one which tickles my fancy, although they were eventually relegated to boring black. Having seen how much better dark blue and grey disappear into the darkness versus the visual hole black creates even at night, I’m surprised the latter is still in use.

      A friend who briefly served in the military is getting a kick out of this thread. He possesses that most desirable of visual defects used in WWI and II: the blue-green color blindness which makes woodland camouflage instantly recognizable.

      • 0 avatar
        James2

        In WW2 didn’t the British experiment with actually lighting up the airplane at night, which supposedly did wonders for its stealthiness?

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          Several nations played with active illumination, not sure about the Brits’ specifics. Here’s a Wiki article:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yehudi_lights#US_Navy_research_project

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    I’m surprised that manufacturers at all bother with camo anymore. CAFE and safety regs have so molded and homogenized car styling that the only differences are egregious gouges and dents in the same smooth potato.

    Will there be a younger generation of Neil Trickeys?

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Car styling has always been homogenized, with automakers endlessly copying each other

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      If you squint really, really hard, then I suppose that one can see the striking resemblance between the Camaro, Chrysler minivan and Toyota Corolla. (Having cataracts or a seeing eye dog makes this even easier.)

      And it’s a shame that CAFE prevents us from having 707hp Dodges, 650 hp Corvettes, and for that matter, 260+hp minivans. Oh, wait a minute…

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        Don’t give a rat’s about performance, just the enforced homogeneity WITHIN SEGMENTS (my bad) that makes cars indistinguishable if you can’t see the badges.

        Oh, and the ever decreasing glass area. But I promise to never diss a reg again. Nor will I praise Fords if I think Silvy’s awake.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    A guy with the last name Trickey working with disguise. Nice to see that last names still relate to an occupation, once in a while.

    If I had to choose my profession based on my surname, I’d either be a fisherman in Italy or a low-level mafia staffer.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the subject of this article is about to be out of a job. Ford will not be developing any new models in Australia, so this is not a job category with a future there.

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    My favorite camo jobs are from JLR and the VW group. JLR incorporates things like hashtags and racetrack maps on their camo. VW just trolls everyone and disguises cars as other cars (Panamera with an E60 M5 body or a Porsche 928 body, Audi A8 with a fake Mitsubishi grille and logo, Jetta with random Chinese car company logo, or Bentley Flying Spur with a hilarious Mercedes S-class disguise)

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    The best thing about this industry is that there is something for everyone.


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